Future Students High School Competitions Back to top

High School Competitions

Woman of the Future by Kimmy Mueller, Minors and Nonmajors Exhibition 2018, Photo by Natalie Fiol

Put your talents to the test for the 2019–20 Discover FAA High School Competitions! All students in grades 9–12 are encouraged to participate. Challenge yourself to stretch your abilities, explore the wide variety of classes and majors offered within the College of Fine and Applied Arts, and compete for a scholarship for either one of our college degree programs or a 2020 summer program. Through these competitions, we hope to encourage a future generation of creative thinkers and emphasize the importance of the arts in society.

Registration is now open.

See the winning entries to get inspiration for your submission.

Competition Briefs

Architectural Drawing

All entries must be of an architectural nature. You are encouraged to draw from life, but creative liberty is desirable as well. Although art drawn by hand is strongly recommended, we will also accept original digital work.


A portrait can communicate much more than a likeness, and in this competition there are few boundaries. You are encouraged to explore personal identity, cultural differences, and all that makes you who you are. With a wide variety of media to select from (painting, drawing, sculpture, and photography are all acceptable), it is up to you to select how to best depict yourself. Digital work must be fully created by you (not a manipulation of an existing image).


Calling all choreographers! We are looking for original choreography that demonstrates your skill and potential as a creative artist in dance. Video submissions should be under five minutes long and can feature a solo or group work in any dance genre.

Design a Playscape

If you could design your own play space, what would it look like? A hand drawing, computer-generated artwork, or a collage of inspirational imagery will all be accepted. 

Items to consider in your design:

  • Must have green space appropriate for the location.
  • Must include a water feature (can be seasonal).
  • Should encourage play by a variety of age groups.

Optional: You may also include a brief written description of your design process.

See the inspiration board for ideas.

Senior entrants: The competition includes one preliminary round of auditions followed by a formal audition that will serve as your audition for admission to the School of Music. For the preliminary round, submit a video online in which you perform 10 minutes of music of your choice.

If you are selected for the next round, you should follow the School of Music undergraduate audition requirements. Those invited to continue to the second round must audition in January or February 2020 and are encouraged to audition on campus if possible, although another video submission is acceptable.

Freshman/sophomore/junior entrants: Submit a video of a performance of 10 minutes of music of your choice for consideration.


Present a monologue. This may be traditional or contemporary but no more than two minutes in length. No costumes, props, or extensive staging should be used. Please include a brief paragraph of no more than 100 words explaining the context of the monologue and your understanding of the character.

Ideal City

You have no doubt been influenced by your hometown, places you have traveled, and how cities are depicted on TV and in movies. Now it's time to create your own city: How does your ideal city look and why? Why would people want to live in your city?

Follow these instructions when creating your entry:

  • State your vision and the goals that you feel would be accomplished through your design, spatial organization, and public policy.
  • Develop urban design features or concepts that support your goals.
  • Show your design elements in your sketch(es) and/or collage of images.
  • Put your vision and goals in a written statement. How will your design produce a better city than conventional urban development would? The length is up to you (but likely three pages would be sufficient).

Your material may be submitted in one of two formats:

  1. Two Microsoft Word documents: one containing your written statement and a second one containing the accompanying images/sketches
  2. A PowerPoint presentation containing both text and images

Faculty judges will consider the following criteria when evaluating your submission:

  • Whether you presented a clear vision and clear goals;
  • The comprehensiveness of what you considered in terms of the components of a city; and
  • The overall thoughtfulness/creativity of your ideas.

You will not be judged on your artistic skills in your drawing. Only your ideas will be considered.

Additional Information

1. All entrants must be currently in grades 9–12. Homeschooled students are encouraged to enter.

2. All entries must be original and authored by one individual.

3. Students may submit one entry for only one contest per year.

Step 1: Register early. Registrations are accepted on a rolling basis starting on September 1, 2019, until 24 hours prior to each entry deadline. Once you register, entry directions will be provided.

Step 2: Connect to the FAA Facebook page for ongoing updates and inspiration.

Step 3: Freshmen, sophomores, and juniors must upload entries by 5:00 p.m. Central Standard Time on Monday, March 2, 2020.
The contest for seniors has ended.

Step 4: See the senior winners.
Freshman, sophomore, and junior winners will be announced by Friday, March 20, 2020.


The winning senior for each competition will receive $1,000 to be applied toward their first-year college expenses. The student must enroll in a program within the College of Fine and Applied Arts to receive the award and must meet all requirements for entry to the University of Illinois and the intended FAA program.

The winning freshman/sophomore/junior for each competition will receive one scholarship to attend an FAA summer program. Eligible programs are the FAA Summer Intensive, Discover Architecture, and Illinois Summer Youth Music.

Registration is now open.




Would you like to get details about other ways you can build on your talents at the College of Fine and Applied Arts?

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